When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and that’s what’s happened in the fitness industry. Read any article, attend any conference, listen to any social media grandstanding argument or purchase any continuing education credential; it’s almost always about training, nutrition or business.
Necessary, to be sure.
Essential, no doubt.
But underneath the science of training and nutrition lies the foundation on which all success is built: the success we co-create with our clients; the success we build in our businesses; the success of our industry at large; namely, the Art of Communication and Motivation.
Not every client or prospect is a nail.
Our “hammer” of epic training programs and surefire nutritional plans don't always do the job because the limitation has always been, and forever will be, how the organism in front of us both intakes and interprets the information and that is a matter of mindset.
- There is one missing link to the success of a fitness professional is the most ignored, but most important factor to client retention.
- There is a potential reason that only 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of exercise daily.
- Why motivation may be exactly the opposite of what most of your clients or prospects need from you.
Sustainable Change: Mindset or Motivation?
We’d like to think that the “raw raw,” “you can do it,” and “willpower” credos are foolproof, but they’re not and it has nothing to do with “laziness,” or a “lack of personal responsibility.” It has to do with an unconscious mindset that restricts someone’s capacity to truly see themselves in any other way than how they see themselves right now.
We champion the notion of creating better behaviors and motivate on the wings of taking action with improved habits, but very little of that superficial stimulus will ever be effective long-term.
No matter how golden our blueprints, programs or templates are.
Because within the mindset, our hidden belief systems, perceptions and expectations will always pull our actions, habits and behaviors back in line to where the “mind” is “set.”
The Evolution of Our Industry
The evolution of a fitness professional involves understanding the complexities of this mindset and being able to practically apply it systematically and simply with clients from all walks of life. But I really don’t look at mindset education as a “revolution” in the fitness industry but rather an “evolution.”
And the difference isn’t semantics.
When I think about revolutions, I imagine hype, over-exaggeration, distorted fear-tactics and embellished claims. Evolutions, on the other hand, are transformative improvements created out of necessity - required developments based on assessment and reassessment of need.
Your customers, clients and prospects need you to better understand the reasons that they can’t seem to sustain an exercise and nutrition program. They need you to appreciate that there are mental and emotional reasons that lurk underneath the surface for why that’s true. They need you to know that it really isn’t about laziness, lack of willpower or any other condemnation we tend to throw at people who seem to be inconsistent with a fitness lifestyle.
They need you to learn how crucial mindset truly is and how much the “get after your goals” motivation really doesn’t work for everyone. They need you to know that, even if you stopped learning anything else about training, exercise, programming or nutrition for the rest of your life, you’d still know 200% more than they do but may not be fully equipped to help them reach their goals.
And they need you to note that a mindset coach isn’t a catchy new revolution or trend…
… It’s the next, natural evolution of what a fitness professional needs to become.
Because it’s the only thing that’s holding you and your clients back.
The Complete Package
I would never suggest that fitness professionals shouldn’t continue learning about exercise and nutrition, but at what point do we include mindset as part of that learning? At what point do we come to realize that mindset is a necessary part our obligation to help customers and clients achieve lifelong fitness?
Perhaps without a quality education in mindset, we're only half as capable of helping people as we want to be:
- Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of daily physical activity (“President’s Council,” n.d.).
- More than 80% of adults do not meet the requirements of healthy activity every month (“President’s Council,” n.d.).
Do we even want to entertain the statistics related to the number of people who consider themselves unhappy, unfulfilled or unsatisfied in life? Those numbers have remained stable or have become worse during the 40-year ascension of the fitness industry.
Expanding our knowledge and understanding of training methodology, nutritional science, functional anatomy and movement application is undeniably important, but consider this:
The very best advice in the world is effective directly in proportion to the advice takers capacity to receive it.
Which is based primarily on perception and expectation: your client's perception of their capacity to succeed with the advice you’re giving them and their unconscious expectations which will determine self-actualization or self-sabotage.
Where the mind goes, the life follows.
President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2016, from http://www.fitness.gov/resource-center/facts-and-statistics/